UNMC med students need votes for AMA competition

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations | July 17, 2018

Image with caption: From left: Rohan Khazanchi, Olivia Sonderman and Laura Newton

From left: Rohan Khazanchi, Olivia Sonderman and Laura Newton

Three UNMC medical students have been chosen as team finalists of the American Medical Association Global Health Challenge essay/video contest, and they need your support.

With a mutual interest in global health and serving underserved populations, Olivia Sonderman, Rohan Khazanchi and Laura Newton, are competing against other teams around the country to win an opportunity to work with Timmy Global Health in Ecuador, Guatemala or the Dominican Republic. The students would help provide high quality health services to underserved populations.

The contest, sponsored by AMA Insurance Agency Inc., involved submitting an essay and video about ideas and experiences related to the delivery of high quality service to underserved populations.

Vote once a day

Now that the UNMC team has made the finals, they need your vote. You can vote once a day until July 30. Vote here.

The students' submission, titled "Nebraska Goes Global," is about the importance of recognizing social determinants of health and utilizing evidence-based practices when caring for underserved communities.

As an undergraduate student in St. Louis during the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, Khazanchi said that he became interested and invested in public health issues. "Activists in St. Louis have continued to highlight key disparities in the health and experiences of its citizens -- similarly, large disparities exist here in Omaha. Understanding this helped me realize that as providers, we have an opportunity to make a difference in our patients' lives by recognizing and combatting these disparities."

Sonderman said during her undergraduate studies she became interested in underserved communities after volunteering at the People's City Mission free health clinic.

"I interacted with patients who fell through the cracks in our health care system, a system that I have always been able to access," Sonderman said. "I began to recognize disparity in my hometown of Columbus, Neb., in patients living in rural areas who struggle to meet with urban specialists to manage their health problems."

Newton's passion for giving back to underserved communities stems from volunteering while growing up in Omaha and during her college years at a community health clinic. "I became more deeply aware of the differences people have in opportunities and resources. While teaching classes at the health clinic, I admired the hard work, persistence and camaraderie patients shared with each other. I felt drawn to a vocation in health care as a way to work in solidarity with underserved populations and address those disparities."

Kelly Caverzagie, M.D, associate dean for educational strategy for the College of Medicine, said the students are truly committed to this as their life's work. "The video and short essay demonstrates why they were chosen as finalists. The principles, ideas and values that these students espouse in their essay/video are what we are hoping to instill in students through our new and evolving curriculum."


Fill out the following and your comment will post once it has been approved.

Name (Required)

Email (Required)

Thank you, your comment will appear below once it has been approved.

Sara Pirtle
July 17, 2018 at 10:06 AM

Kudos to all three of you! I'll cast my first vote today! - Sara Pirtle, IHME Program Manager